Hey, good-lookin’! Happy Thursday!
Can I recount a particularly mortifying experience with you? About four years ago, I went to a bachelorette party with some girlfriends. At some point in the evening, one of the partygoers—a particularly lovely, intelligent, and generous gal—decided that a fun “game” would be for each of us to systematically describe our least favorite body parts. Though she encouraged us to point out what we also like about ourselves, what ensued was nothing more than a complaint session in which each girl poured out a litany of body griefs. A series of gorgeous and smart women played along for what felt like an eternity, and few of them remembered to point out what they liked about themselves. It was almost as if they were all looking in a funhouse mirror, being horrified at what they saw. I kept thinking to myself, If THESE girls think of themselves as so hopelessly flawed, who KNOWS what they must think about me! The self-bashing was spreading like mold.
That night has stuck with me for a long time because not a single one of those women should have felt anything but pride in who they are, both inside and out. When a girl who weighs 120 lbs. sees nothing but her cellulite, that speaks volumes to me about our culture and how women are not allowed—much less encouraged—to love their bodies. It is with this in mind that I challenge you to spend the next few days joining me in dressing your best features, and loving the rest too.
I found out about “Dress Your Best Week” from the writers and fashionistas over at Academic Chic, where for the next few days they will be writing about their favorite body parts and how they like to dress them. As a fellow academic, I really appreciate these women’s opinions, goals, and insights into the body as a site of identity; and they have some pretty great practical advice about fashion as well. As part of “Dress Your Best Week,” they point out that though it’s no crime to be a little uncomfortable about parts of your body, by and large we tend to nitpick ourselves apart and forget to appreciate the parts of our bodies that are truly lovely. So with that spirit of maximize OVER minimize, let’s focus instead on the parts that aren’t so bad.
I’ll go first. Since I’m home alone for a few days and couldn’t get any decent full-body photos of myself besides this lame-o mirror shot,
I’ll break down my list, one body part at a time.
1. ) My hands.
My hands are getting a little more wrinkled, freckled, and spotted these days, but that doesn’t really bother me. I appreciate how my hands can hold a book; type a paper; write a letter; grade a student’s essay; and of course, open a bag of gummy bears. My fingers are slim but strong, so I decorate them with rings (Kate Spade) and nail polish (OPI’s “Suzi Sells Sushi By the Seashore”). I’ve always liked my hands, and I always will.
2.) My feet.
My feet take me everywhere, and they carry the weight of the rest of me. They get blistered and sore, but they sure do look cute in espadrilles from H&M. And if I’ve gained a few pounds during finals, my shoes will always still fit on my trusty, consistently-sized feet.
3) My hair.
This is a new haircut. And while it took me a few days to get over how I look a little bit like Pat Benatar, I think I’m finally getting used to it. In fact, I think I finally like it, so I’m wearing it down today.
4.) And finally . . . my butt.
OK, fine. My butt and I weren’t always on good terms. But now that I’m in my late twenties, I think we’ve grown fond of each other. I especially like the way Calvin Klein jeans fit me, because they tend to accentuate the feminine curve that I’ve grown so used to. If I were suddenly a stick figure, I think I’d miss this caboose.
This entry may seem like nothing more than a bit of braggadocio, but I truly believe that there’s no other way to combat the poison of self-loathing. It’s time for women to learn that their bodies are powerful, beautiful, and wonderfully made. Now it’s your turn—which parts of YOUR body do you love the most, and how do you dress them?
*If you want to participate in Dress Your Best week on your own blog, head on over to academichic.com to let them know you’re taking part in the body celebration!